The changing form: still is now moving

You’d have to be living under a rock not to see the major changes in DSLR cameras over the past few years. It seem that every new unit out is both a still and video camera, and many rival the best in traditional video-only cameras. The sensor size of most DSLRs blows away what is available in the same price range of a video-only camera and have many of the same features. I’m waiting with bated breath for what Canon has up their sleeve—the announcement of the latest in the D1s line is due out some time in the next few months. Rumors suggest it will include as much as a 40MP sensor, multiple image processors and full HD video capabilities. While it’s true that these cameras have had some issues in the audio capture part of a video production because of inadequate on-board mikes. There are many ways to solve this already, and the technology will only get better.

So what does this mean for you?
Several of the interviewees in our recent Q&A sessions have mentioned the requests for combined video and still shoots have increased. So getting a handle on this as soon as you can only makes you more marketable to your clients now and in the future. To truly make this work, you need to open up and/or adjust your lighting to a more cinematic style, and, it may seem obvious, but strobes won’t do the trick with video. So getting use to lighting with continuous light sources is a must, or you will need to bring both to the shoot to cover the job.
The other issue is the editing process. When the digital photography revolution started or even earlier, when Photoshop came on the scene, may of us old dogs had to learn new tricks to stay in the market. This is true with video editing. When I started shooting or, should I say, directing video, the crews were huge. I rarely touched the camera or the lighting, and I had access to only the dailies (roughs of the footage we shot the day before). Now, as soon as I finish the shot or the sequence we’re working on, it goes onto the hard drive and I’m editing the HD footage in minutes. Plus, I’m now looking through the lens, rather than at a monitor off set, so I’m getting the shot I want, the way I want it. For me, the learning curve was a bit steep, but, after I spent a few months working with my program, I can’t believe the possibilities that are now open to me and my company.

Here at F+W Media, we decided to bring all of our video production in-house the summer of 2009. That year it accounted for about 10 percent of my time in the studio. In 2010 we pushed this to about 30 percent. This year we will easily go well over 50 percent and may even push to 70 percent. The new markets we are entering largely drive this, with the enhancements we are making to our e-book products. Any professional photographer can take this example and extrapolate how it might work for your business. This is the future. Get on board or miss the train altogether.

As always, let me know what you think.



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